A Tale of a Run

Good morning, friends!

I had a crazy long training run yesterday. Like, ridiculously long and I’m amazed that I can still stand this morning. You know those runs when you set out and are like, “oh, this’ll be fine. I’ll just blast through this and totally have time for my life at the end of it.” completely underestimating how long these miles will actually take? Yeah, it was one of those.

It’s been a goal since I moved to the East Bay to hike around Lake Chabot. The route is 9 miles, and I had always intended to make it a 3ish-hour hike. Once I started half marathon training, I realized that eventually I would be able to run it, and I was sort of excited about that. Because I get excited about weird things.

The opportunity presented itself this weekeend, when I was scheduled to do a long training run. I’m using the Aaptiv app (<– affiliate link!) for my training program, and according to the plan I was supposed to run around 10 miles in 100 minutes. Ha, that’s cute. But I figured I could do 7.5-8 miles in that amount of time. And I thought I could run around the lake until the run time was up, then just walk the rest of the way as a cool-down.

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It started out like that. But I had never been to the other side of the lake before. I headed out on the Eastside trail as I usually like to do, with no idea what I was in for.

Hills. I was in for hills.

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And it was a legit trail back there. At some point the paved path turns into dirt, and then it starts switchbacks up and down the ridge behind the lake. I was warned by my friend that there was a beast of a hill around Mile 4, but I was not anticipating all of the rough terrain and climbing. My calves started getting tight and cramping, despite all the water  I was throwing down from my Camelbak. After I passed Mile 4 I did a lot of walking up the hills and jogging back down for quite some time. After Mile 6.5 I was almost walking the entire way. My legs were just done.

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At some point I realized I was in the trail system, and I wasn’t sure which trail I was supposed to be on. That’s okay, I just need to make sure the lake is always to my left, and I should make it back to the Marina. And the views were getting more and more gorgeous as the sun burned through the clouds.

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Eventually I made it to a parking lot. And it wasn’t the parking lot I had parked in. In fact, I had no idea this lot existed, or exactly where I was. Crap, I took a wrong trail somewhere. I had been running Strava to track my mileage, and I looked on my map to see what was going on.

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Well double crap. I was supposed to pick up the end of the red line, and I was about a half mile off the trail that took me back to my car. At this point I realized that there was no way I was making it back home anytime soon. I had plans to head up to Healdsburg for some wine tasting, and I realized I was in no way going to be home in time for my friend to pick me up. So I texted my apologies and strategized a new plan for getting a ride as I hiked back to the main trail.

By the time I was done, I had completed 9.6 miles, averaging a 14 min/mile pace. Good lord, I felt so slow. But most of it was because I was walking up every stupid hill for five miles. At least I got some good hill training in?

I finally made it back to my car, my 100-minute run now transformed to nearly 2 1/2 hours of slogging through trails, and I was ridiculously late in meeting up my friend. I blasted back home, boiled some eggs as I took the fasted shower ever followed by a quick cold bath to cool down my legs, slammed the eggs down as I put myself together in some cute “wine tasting tourist” attire, and skipped off to BART to meet up my friend.

Happy ending time, we got our wine.

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I would love to hike the lake loop again some day when I have the time and not under the marathon training pressure, but I think for my next (and last!) long run I’ll find a different course so I can try to run the distance instead of having to pepper so many walk breaks in. I’m still not exactly sure where my endurance is for 13 whole miles yet, and race day is looming ever closer. But at this point, the only way out is through! I’ll just show up, run as much as my stumpy little legs can, and see what happens.

Go make it a great day!

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